ratio reports Ratio Reports and studies for the printing industry are a very tedious process, but a very important exercise, especially for print shop owners and managers.

For the past few days, I’ve been working with my son Paul on our annual Ratio Reports and studies for the printing industry. Tedious, yes, to say the least! However, I believe it’s a very important exercise for Paul and his brother Barton, who are now taking on more management responsibilities in our company.

These reports can just seem like more “pesky” systems, but with these reports, they can know and see where all the company’s cash is going. This is a great system for new owners, to help them understand the numbers side of the business.

What Exactly Are Ratio Reports?

For those who are unfamiliar with Ratio Reports, they are simply a measurement or benchmarking system. They are usually set up in Microsoft Excel for gauging how much a company is spending in a particular area, compared to sales. Sometimes the ratios make sense, while other times you may wonder, “What does this have to do with the price of beans in Texas?”

As owners and managers, we often get bored with certain reporting systems and end up paying little attention to them. Or, we just gloss over them without realizing their importance.


If we don’t take the time for closer review of our company’s ratios, we may find it’s taking on water (losing money) in a particular area, if not sinking altogether.

It’s a great puzzle to me, whenever business owners say they don’t have time for Ratio Studies or other benchmarking systems. Truth is, it would help eliminate the threat of failure in most areas of their company. But, they will spend valuable time calling all hands on deck to start bailing when a job turns out to be a Titanic-size mess.

Ironically, we never seem to have time to do the job right, yet we always have the time to REWORK the job when something goes wrong.

It also seems we never have time for preventive maintenance on our equipment. However, we MAKE time for repairs when it goes down, no matter the cost or time involved! This seems like a good place to add, “Go figure!” But, I’ll refrain.

Did I mention? Great system work!  

(Even the “PESKY” ones)